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"transatlanticfoe"

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Mercury
Mercury
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: 5.78

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Strong Debut, 14 Aug 2003
This review is from: Mercury (Audio CD)
It's a shame this was released in the same week as SFA's new album, the genius of which puts this in the shade a little. Still, it's one of the better straight indie debut since Travis' Good Feeling. There's no doubting the presence of some cracking tunes, but I feel that the album is very slightly let down by the pacing. Whilst there's not a bad track in sight, it could really do with a couple more uptempo numbers to fit alongside "When You Sleep", "Nowhere" and "Further". Also, as a fan with the first three singles, I already own half of the songs here. Whilst most are better produced, "When You Sleep" suffers a little from overproduction, with some bizzare and offputting feedback running in the background throughout the song.
I'm not sure where the idea that Longview are Christian rockers came from. I've seen an interview from the band saying otherwise, and frankly, mentioning God in a song hardly makes a band Christian. Heck, The Flaming Lips had several songs with Jesus mentioned in them, and they're not at all religious. Comparing them to nu-metal Christian dullards, POD, is just silly though. Also, I'd compare this band to Haven and early Travis, more than, say, Elbow. In my view, Elbow are deathly dull (yes, I have listened to them), whereas Longview have a special creative spark. I just hope it doesn't die after the first album, like Travis' did.
Overall, this album is extremely recommended for indie fans, and, though a little overproduced in places, is strong throughout. But, I think they've got a bit further to go before they can touch the likes of Seafood and Dawn Of The Replicants for creativity. I first saw them supporting Easyworld at the start of the year, and though not quite up to their standard, it's clear there's plenty of promise in this band.


Hot Charity
Hot Charity

5.0 out of 5 stars A Stormer From RFTC!, 4 Jun 2003
This review is from: Hot Charity (Audio CD)
Having been introduced to RFTC via a friend and Live From Camp X-Ray, this was the first album I got my hands on, on the recommendation that it's "very good and very limited". It's safe to say that this is their best work, though Live From Camp X-Ray comes close. Instrumental opener "Pushed" builds up slowly before breaking out into crunching guitars and those trademark RFTC horns, and to be honest, the whole of Hot Charity is so good that it's difficult to pick standouts. Maybe the thunderous "Cloud Over Branson", wonderfully disjointed "Shucks", and definitely their finest track "My Arrow's Aim" are the pick of the bunch. But to be honest, the others aren't far behind. As for the Cut Carefully And Play Loud E.P., it's material isn't quite up to the Hot Charity standard, but is certainly up there with the best moments of Scream, Dracula, Scream! "If The Bird Could Fly" and "Who Let The Snakes In?" being the best of that collection. Ultimately, these two releases, previously only available on limited vinyl, is well worth getting if you're a fan of heavy rock 'n' roll, and I suspect any RFTC fan has already got this, judging by how notoriously great Hot Charity is.
RFTC fans, if you don't have this, go get it. Rock fans, what are you waiting for?


In Casino Out
In Casino Out
Offered by Side Two
Price: 12.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Heavy Rock Album, 3 Dec 2002
This review is from: In Casino Out (Audio CD)
It's a close call between this and Relationship of Command as to which is the best ATD-I album. Personally, the more traditional rock feel of this gives it the edge over the electronic sample fest of Relationship of Command. Arguably the best track here is the dark, haunting Napoleon Solo, despite it being possibly the least ATD-I style track on the album. More traditional fast and heavy tracks such as Chanbara and Transatlantic Foe are amongst the best the band have ever produced. However, it's the album as a whole which excels here, rather than individual tracks. Unlike many bands, where some tracks seem so similar that they almost result in an album sounding like one big, long song (sorry to name names, but The Offspring's Conspiracy Of One is the worst offender I've heard), this album has excellent variation in the style, mood and pace of the songs. Possibly the only flaw is that it doesn't go on for another 10 minutes (something Sparta rectified with their debut Wiretap Scars), as, at 38 minutes, it's a little on the short side, and unlike Idlewild's new album (same length as this), you don't feel totally fulfilled at the end of it.
Still, it's a great album, ATD-I's best, and anyone who reckons they love "true" rock music (not nu-metal trash) should have this on regular rotation on their stereo.


Wiretap Scars
Wiretap Scars

5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And I Thought The Austere E.P. Was Good!, 11 Oct 2002
This review is from: Wiretap Scars (Audio CD)
With Idlewild, The Flaming Lips, ..Trail of Dead, Mclusky, Hundred Reasons and Six By Seven all coming up with incredible albums, this looked like being a great year for true rock music. Then this album came along. Forget the others, this is the best album so far this year, and possibly the greatest debut album I've ever heard. In terms of the style of music on offer, think IN/CASINO/OUT era At The Drive-In, and you're halfway there. Much of the faster songs, "Sans Cosm", "Cut Your Ribbon" and "Mye" especially, are simliar in style to ATD-I, but it's the slower songs where this album truly excels. "Echodyne Harmonic" is even more moody and atmospheric than ATD-I's masterpiece "Napoleon Solo", whilst "Cataract" and "Light Burns Clear" have an emotional edge ATD-I never had. Bonus track "Vacant Skies", the standout on Austere, is the best track here, but everything else isn't far behind.
Thankfully, Sparta have kept the energy of ATD-I and the songwriting flare, but have successful come up with an identity of their own. Jim's vocals, though not as powerful as Cedric's, are certainly more tuneful, and the loss of guitarist Omar certainly hasn't hurt in the least.
Sadly, like ATD-I, this band will probably only have a cult following, even less than ATD-I, maybe, as many former ATD-I fans have rubbished off Sparta and sang the praises of The Mars Volta. The Mars Volta are good, yes, but Muse deliver better prog-rock, and Les Savy Fav do a simliar thing, but with more energy, style, and, well, they're just better.
In short, if you're of the school who believed ATD-I's best album was IN/CASINO/OUT, buy this, you'll love it. If you're one of those who'd rather have something different than something truly excellent but not overly original, go listen to The Mars Volta.
Overall, this is awesome, and well worth the wait since the Austere E.P.. This is the best album so far this year, and it looks like I won't miss ATD-I any more!


Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.61

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Awesome, 6 Aug 2002
Not since Eels' Daises Of The Galaxy has there been an album quite like this. It's just something you can sit back and lose yourself in, and is different to previous Flaming Lips releases. It's hard to believe that the band who made this album were once a sort of psychedelic grunge-rock band. This album is their best yet, even better than the brilliant Transmissions From The Satellite Heart, and repairs the fault that The Soft Bulletin had. That album was great, but suffered, in my view, because the songs didn't seem to fit together properly. This album flows brilliantly from start to finish, and is packed full of the standard 'Lips lyrics, ranging from bonkers to beautiful. "Fight Test" and "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots part I" are the closest this album comes to producing 90s style 'Lips songs, and I have to say that they are the best tracks here. However, this is not an album where standout tracks matter, as this works best as a whole album, and there's never a point where you feel like skipping a track.
All in all, this album is fantastic, and an absolute must for fans of the band, and anyone who likes Mercury Rev, Eels or Grandaddy. If it wasn't for Idlewild's awesome new album, this would have been a clear album of the year. One of the best albums ever, you'd be a fool to not at least give it a few listens.


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